The opioid epidemic has profoundly increased drug overdose deaths globally and continues to be fueled by rising levels of untreated chronic pain and drug addiction. However, neuroscientist Vishakh Iyer thinks that there is a way to “weed” out this epidemic. Vishakh explains how the biological system responsible for cannabis, THC and CBD working in our body – the endocannabinoid system – could potentially help us overcome both pain and addiction. From the origins of the opioid epidemic to the latest scientific research, Vishakh shares how the unique endocannabinoid system within all of us can be harnessed to not only overcome chronic pain but also reduce side-effects such as addiction, withdrawal, physical dependence, and respiratory dependence caused by long-term opioid use. He explains that drugs that specifically target this endocannabinoid system when combined with opioids can improve opioid-induced pain-relief while reducing their many unwanted side-effects. Images used with permission from Shutterstock.com.
Dr. Vishakh Iyer is a neuroscientist by training and a professional medical/scientific communications consultant for pharmaceutical companies. Born and raised in India, Vishakh moved to the United States in 2012 and earned an MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience and a PhD in Neuroscience and Psychology. He has spent his research career studying the neuroscientific aspects of opioid addiction, cannabinoids, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, alcohol addiction etc. His primary research focus is directed towards developing novel endocannabinoid-based approaches towards overcoming unwanted side-effects such as addiction, withdrawal, and respiratory depression caused by the use and misuse of commonly prescribed opioids like morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. He currently works as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry and helps to drive, support and execute medical communications strategies and tactical plans through the development of high-quality, scientifically accurate and patient/health care provider driven deliverables. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
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